This past Saturday I was honored to cater a wedding reception in Scottsdale, AZ. There are all sorts of angles to take on this story - having to move my kitchen three times, conservative kosher foods, moving frozen food components in the hot desert environment, but I'm still on vacation so I'll skip all of that and get to the food.
I made ten different hors d'oeuvres for the event which evolved as I found more fun ingredients in Phoenix that we don't have in Silver City. I went to Lee Lee's Market which is a really great Asian market and found banana blossoms. In the 'new to me' category, I was fascinated by what I could use these in for the reception. Some quick research found that most people will take the inner leaves and add them to salads. I was more interested in the stamen (?) in between the leaves. Here's a cross section for those of you who've never seen one before.
I had just finished candying some grapefruit peel from fruit off the client's backyard tree, and so I used the grapefruit syrup to candy the stamen - actually the male flowers. These were inedible except the very end, so those were snipped and later added as garnish to the ceviche.
They had a nice flavor combination when mixed with the grapefruit syrup. And, I loved the sexuality of it for the wedding.
Next was that ceviche. I took the most beautiful fish in the ocean lopped its head off:
Yes, this was Parrotfish Ceviche! A really wonderful, almost nutty flesh when raw, I marinated in a coconut milk, yuzu sake and lime broth with Thai seasonings. We kept the heads for the staff meal when we pan fried and enjoyed the cheeks.
A quickie was a kalamata tapenade with candied grapefruit and the olive oil crisps that I regularly do - these were very light on the anise.
At this point things became too busy to take pics so here is the staff plate at the end of the night - not nearly as pretty, but it'll let me describe what I served.
Clockwise starting at the top is a mango sphere with lemongrass foam; sousvide cooked duck breast coated with a thin shell of chipotle and smoked paprika with a hazelnut foam; the ceviche with sweet potato puree and candied banana blossom; chimichurri beef with aioli; hummus, apple orb in celery juice. Here's a better pic of the mango sphere.
And a pic of the frozen apple spheres coming out of my new full sphere mold - Larry - are you coveting?
I made more stuff but can't remember right now, but it was another successful event. Finally, I had the opportunity to work with a fantastic sous on this event hired through a temp agency - Caleb, a grad of the Scottsdale Culinary School. My prep was...my mom :) who also did a great job.
Farina Alto – Albuquerque, New Mexico
21 hours ago